Welcome to the discussion forum of Ða Engliscan Gesiðas for all matters relating to the history, language and culture of Anglo-Saxon England. I hope it will provide a useful source of information, stimulate research, and be of real help. Ða Engliscan Gesiðas (The English Companions) maintains a strictly neutral line on all modern and current political and religious matters and it does not follow any particular interpretation of history. Transgression of this Rule will not be tolerated. Any posts which are perceived as breaking this Rule will be deleted with immediate effect without explanation.

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General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Phyllis on July 29, 2021, 04:08:00 PM »
I did write a review for the next WW if our esteemed editor feels it is worthy...

It was excellent and gave me a different view.
General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Eanflaed on July 29, 2021, 12:34:33 PM »
Hi Bill, I’ve been considering buying that book - would you recommend it? I must admit I do favour Michael Wood’s theory at the moment (but am open to other suggestions) because the Great North Road had been a conduit for the movement of armies since the Roman period and so many battles have been fought on or near it. It would be the obvious route for Athelstan to get into the North quickly and if York was the target it reinforces the sense of a confrontation in Yorkshire rather than Cheshire. I can’t see why Constantine would channel his army so far west when Athelstan would be approaching from the south...but then I haven’t read “Never greater slaughter”!
General Discussion / Re: Pembrokeshire - hundreds of AS Christian graves.
« Last post by Eanflaed on July 29, 2021, 12:22:58 PM »
That sounds exciting. Pembrokeshire already has a lot of early Christian stuff, so that’s all in keeping I guess.
General Discussion / OTD 23rd May 913: Burh building at Hertford
« Last post by Phyllis on July 24, 2021, 10:27:58 AM »
Today we’re talking about the last years of the Danelaw. It’s 913 AD, picture the scene, described for us here by the chronicler, John of Worcester…

“After Rogation days [23rd May], King Edward [“the Elder”] detached part of his troops to build a town on the south side of the river Lea, and, marching the rest into Essex, pitched his camp at Maldon. He took up his quarters there while a town was building at Witham, which was afterwards fortified; and a great portion of the inhabitants who were enthralled by the Pagans submitted themselves to him, with all they possessed.”

During Rogationtide in 913 AD Edward left a garrison completing a burh at Hertford and marched his army into Essex. They built a burh at Witham on the Roman road between London and Colchester, while camping at Maldon. The logistics were complex. Edward had to have a fighting army but also builders and enough men to garrison his burh once it was completed and the army moved on. There is no record of local resistance to the building activity and once it was completed they submitted to Edward.
Witham was not as significant a settlement as some that were built. It didn’t produce coins and it was smaller scale.
912-914 AD saw the first phase of Edward’s campaign to re-conquer (or conquer, depending on your point of view) the Danelaw, which had a Scandinavian leadership following the Treaty of Alfred and Guþrum, and was later renegotiated under the Treaty of Tiddingford between Edward and the Danes around 905-906 AD. That treaty held the peace for about 3 years until Æþelred of Mercia and his wife Æþelflæd raided Bardney in 909-910 AD to recover the relics of Oswald, breaking the terms of the treaty. The Danes retaliated with raids of their own and relations fractured.  In 910 AD the two sides met at the Battle of Tettenhall in August 910 AD with an overwhelming victory for Edward.
From 912-914 AD Edward and Æþelflæd (leader of Mercia since her husband’s death in 910/911 AD) fought persistently and uncompromisingly to take the Danish territories under their control.
Following a victory in the field, Edward established a burh to maintain control of the area. With this approach we see Edward diverging from his father Alfred’s use of burhs as defensive fortifications, and developing them into offensive devices. There was no occupying army to be driven out; the Danes had settled on the land for a couple of generations and the population was now integrated. It no longer made sense to talk about Angelcynn and Danish. Edward had to consolidate his rule over the people as a whole after winning his battles and the establishment of the burhs allowed him to do so. In this phase of the campaign Edward and Æþelflæd built 11 burhs, including a double burh at Hertford either side of the river.
In the second phase of the campaign, 915-916 AD, Edward started to work into the Outer Danelaw: Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire and Northamptonshire. He was back at Maldon in 916 AD building another burh to support Witham.
Æþelflæd died in 918 AD just as York was on the cusp of submitting to her. From that point on Edward took sole control of the campaign into the remaining Scandinavian territories and also established control over Mercia. In total by 921 AD thirty burhs had been constructed or refortified, from Bremesburh in 910 AD to Cledemuþa (Rhuddlan) in 921 AD. The project also included, in 920 AD, building a bridge over the River Trent at Nottingham, which in construction and length was second only to the London Bridge restored by Alfred during his reign. By the end of 920 AD he had secured the submission of the kings in the north:

“At that time the king of the Scots, with all his people, Regnald, king of the Danes, with the English and Danes of Northumbria, and the king of the Strathclyde Britons, with his subjects, chose king Edward the Elder for their father and lord, and made a firm alliance with him.”

Edward died in 924 AD and his son, Æþelstan eventually was recognised as his successor and crowned the following year. His father’s legacy enabled him to complete the task of taking control of the Danelaw and establishing a potential kingdom of England.
Image: Map of burhs in 912 AD, from The History of England website thehistoryofengland.co.uk/2011/01/21/10-english-reconquest/
General Discussion / OTD 14 July 664: Death of King Eorcenberht of Kent
« Last post by Phyllis on July 17, 2021, 07:39:56 AM »
Continuing my series of posts from the Companions' Facebook page, here is the most popular post from the past week commemorating Eorcenberht of Kent. It’s a short piece, and I haven’t done him much justice. Anyway, here it is.
14 July 664 AD saw the death of Eorcenberht, King of Kent.
Eorcenberht ruled for 24 years, and according to Bede was the first English king to command the destruction of pagan idols and to enforce the observance of the Lent fast. He was the second son of Eadbald of Kent, but his older brother, Eormenred, pre-deceased their father so Eorcenberht became the next King on 20th January 640 AD.
We recently discussed his wife, Seaxburh (6th July). Their daughter, St. Ercongota, became Abbess of Faremoutiers-en-Brie in Frankia, and her sister, St. Eormengild married Wulfhere, King of Mercia, before becoming Abbess of Minster-in-Sheppey, which had been founded by her mother.  He also had two sons, Ecgbert and Hlothere. Ecgbert, who succeeded him and was responsible for the assassination of the two young æþelings, Æþelred and Æþelberht. After Ecgbert’s death Hlothere became king in turn.
He was the King who appointed Deusdedit as the first native born Archbishop of Canterbury, and we will be discussing Deusdedit later today.
Eorcenberht was probably buried with his parents at Canterbury.

General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Bill on July 15, 2021, 11:49:29 PM »
Hi all.  Have recently completed ' Never greater slaughter' - Brunanburgh and the birth of England by Michael Livingston.   Be interested to read others comments  as to the supposed location of the battle especially in light of Jenny's article in summer issue of Withowinde - cheers and regards
General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Phyllis on July 10, 2021, 02:22:02 PM »
Meanwhile - I am really enjoying RObin Fleming's new book on The Material Fall of Roman Britain, 300-525 CE

THis investiagtes that transtion from what we call Roman to what we call Anglo-Saxon. It talks about the impact of changes in teh materials available for daily life - things like plants, animals, pottery types, metal, stone etc and how the change in availability of these thigns affects daily living. It's not a big book - less than 200 pages - but it's absolutely packed with information and there areover 100 pages of end notes with detaild references to archaeological reports on teh sites and finds discussed. I am absolutely enthralled!

To sum it up, I might say that just as it takes a village to raise a child, so it takes the full might of the Roman infrastructure to make a pot. If any of the links in that supply chain break, then the pot does not happen, or at least it does not happen in the way it used to. And that affects how people cook, how they carry out funerary practices and how they display wealth or status. This then applie across the full range of materials, prodcuts, skills and practices of living.

General Discussion / Re: What's Everyone Reading?
« Last post by Phyllis on July 10, 2021, 02:14:37 PM »
I have read teh Morris book because I wanted his take on the period. It was a Parson's Egg for me. Of course, it isn't his main period usually, but I was pleased some chapters provided a really good basic overview of current thinking, But then others...oh dear

I'm not sure I'd recommend it even as a starter book to be honest. I'd stick with Nick Higham for that

To be clear, other opinions are available!
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